July 7th, 2011

June, otter

The Next Great Magician part 7

Two things: One, when I am finished, I totally need to reformat this as chapters, and two, because I am writing single spaced in word, this is a b to reformat to something readable here.

 She slid them onto a plate and handed it to her father, who collected his eggs and bacon. At which point, Tabitha’s stomach decided to growl.

“I thought you said you ate,” her dad said.

“I did, eat, that is. I guess I’m just hungry again,” she replied. Tabitha surveyed the fried food and decided to reach for an apple in the hanging fruit basket. “Do we have any water bottles in the house?”
“What? First you can do magic, now you’re on a health kick?” her dad asked.
“The two are not mutually exclusive,” Tabitha replied.
“I hate to say it, Tabby’s right,” Chelsea said over the breakfast table. “I mean, we all need to think about what we eat, right? And dad weren’t you just saying a little while ago that the doctor told you that you needed not to eat so much fattening stuff so that your arteries don’t get clogged?”
“There are worse ways to die,” he remarked.
“Heart attack symptoms can appear for hours before the actual event, and the actual attack can last up to thirty minutes which causes severe pain in the chest, and if you should survive, it sucks,” Tabitha said.
“Thank you Dr. Tabitha,” Carol said. “Look, your father and I both know the risks, and I admit, we could eat a little healthier. But it’s not like we want one of those British ladies from the TV knocking down the door and forcing it down our throats. Okay, girls? Baby steps. Tabitha, eat your apple.” 
After she finished the apple, Tabitha ventured back upstairs to prepare for school. She would have to leave early so that she could get her assignment from the day before. That meant she would be walking to school, as Reiss never went early, unless his life depended on it. Fortunately, it was only about a twenty minute walk, much less than what she did yesterday. She packed her bag with its usual products and then looked at her newer, magical items.
The boots were not a problem; she could wear them and almost look normal. A quick check of the forecast revealed it was not going to get above fifty degrees, and might rain, so she could definitely take her coat as well. As for the book, Weisz had advised her to never leave it alone, which mean it had to come with her. The safest option for that was do leave it in the pocket in the back of her coat. Much to her loathing, Tabitha left the typewriter at home, just to give herself one less temptation.
Tabitha reviewed all assignments which were due for that day, and before the clock could think of striking seven, she set out for school.
Arriving forty minutes before the bell rang in a small town was a little unusual, but the security guards knew her well enough as the mild-mannered sister of Reiss McLane, so they barely shrugged as she walked into the school early. She had not missed her morning classes, so she skipped the visits to her history, computer and calculus teachers, and never felt more grateful to have fourth hour study period. Fifth period was basic art, and the teacher reported that they only had in class work, so she might want to come in during lunch to work on her drawing. Her physics teacher handed her a packet filled will problems, and suggested that she come in during lunch if she needed help. When she reached English was when she ran into trouble.
It turned out that her English teacher, Ms. Grant, had been sick yesterday and today and subbing in was one of the assistant principals. The assistant principal who took care of all of the students from S to Z, meaning he was Tabitha’s assistant principal.
He was sitting at Ms. Grant’s desk looking over a lesson plan when she entered, and noticed her before she could walk right back out.
“Tabitha!” he called. “Came for your assignment?”
“Yes sir,” she replied.
“Good. I thought you might. It will give us a chance to talk about your truancy yesterday and this way you won’t have to be called to the office. Take a seat.” Tabitha felt that her stride became slower and stuck together the closer she got to the room. The feeling of being in trouble was wholly unfamiliar to her as the last time it had happened in school, she punched Sarah Jones after having a rock thrown at her head. Not to mention, she had skipped school for a good reason, she could not exactly tell Mr. White that. “So,” he said, pulling out a chair from one the desks and sitting right in front of her, “do you want to tell me why you skipped school yesterday? Because I think we both know that your parents didn’t pull you out.”
“I…didn’t…feel well,” she said slowly, trying to work out a reasonable excuse.
“If you didn’t feel well, why didn’t you go to the office or the nurse, and ask to be sent home?” he asked. “I’m sure Reiss wouldn’t have minded driving you.”

“It wasn’t a physical unwellness,” she said. “I just…I needed to get out of the school.”
“Why?” he asked. “You’re such a good kid, Tabitha, I can’t even begin to wonder why you would do something wrong like that. Did someone put you up to it or…what happened that made you feel like you wanted to leave?”
“I felt like I was being watched,” she retorted. “And no offense, Mr. White, but you can’t exactly tell the office every sneaking suspicion you have. That’s what gets kids sent to an institute.”
“You felt like you were being watched in the school?” Mr. White asked. “Watched by whom?”
“I don’t know. I just felt so anxious and at ease, it’s like I had to leave or I was going it…I don’t pass out or freak out on someone, okay? I just needed three periods for my mental health. Considering the fact that I consistently do not need to fill a period and already take two classes at the university, I don’t think this should be that big of a deal.”
“That’s why it is such a big deal, Tabitha,” he said. “Because I don’t want to see such a promising student like you get involved into anything terrible, okay? I’ll let it go this time, but if you ever feel uncomfortable in the school, just come and see me during a passing period and we’ll talk about it, or if you really need to, I’ll let you go home. Just get the absences excused and we won’t have any problems.”
“All right,” she agreed, though the words stuck in her throat, and she felt like a coward for speaking them. What had made it so easy to tell the truth to her family, but then she could not say the exact same thing to a school official? Was another problem being a magician would bring her? Always having to hide certain activities and reasons from people she should have been able to trust?
“Okay, then, your assignment for yesterday was to begin reading Odyssey, introduction and up to page seventy-five. We’ll be discussing it today and class and you need to consider a possible essay topic, and write up a proposal for the end of the week.” He handed her a worn paperback copy of the book, and waited for her to fill out the card in the front. When she handed it back to him, he said, “That’s all for now. You can go and try to catch up on your work.”
She still had almost a half-hour before school began, so she sequestered herself in the library skimming her history book, and taking down notes that would have to be discussed in class. Thankfully, she had a fully written essay done much ahead of time, and she was also ahead in her computer skills class, which meant she would have a second study hall that morning, during which she could work on calculus problems. Her real study hall would be spent getting into her physics packet and reading the first one hundred or so pages of the Odyssey.
“Life could get worse,” she muttered to herself.
“You could have killer magicians after you.” Tabitha jumped and looked to see Weisz sitting across from her.
“Did you have to do that?”
“Have to?” he inquired, a grin spreading across his face. “Not strictly speaking but it was quite amusing, so…In any case, I just came to tell you where I’ve taken up residence and ask when you will be free for your first magic lesson.”
“About that,” she said, making Weisz frown. “Don’t make that face! I was just going to say, I told my family the truth, so I need to discuss curfews with my dad and my stepmom.”
“And how late will that and…advanced placement physics take you?” he asked, reading her packet upside down.
“I’m not sure,” she admitted.
“Tabitha, I loathe to inform you of this, but there are people who will be attempting to kill you,” Weisz replied.
“Well, I hate to tell you this, but my dad will be on that list if I don’t obey his rules,” Tabitha replied. “Look, I know this is not going to be easy for either of us, all right? But I am a good student. I always do my homework when it gets handed to me, and I learn quickly. Don’t worry so much about what you will be able to teach me. It just can’t be tonight.”
“They know where you are Tabitha,” he said.
“Yeah, I know.”
“I don’t think you do.”
“I don’t think you were here yesterday when I skipped school because I could feel them watching me,” she hissed. Weisz eyes grew wide.
“And can you feel them now?”
“Can you?”
“Not necessarily,” he replied, ducking his head to look out a window. “Answer me honestly, do you think you will be able to devote enough of your time to become the Great Magician?”
“I will give you whatever time I have left. Whether or not it will be enough is for you to decide after our first magic lesson.” Weisz stared her down, but then snorted and leaned back in his chair.

“Very well. I trust you’ll be in contact?” He held out a small manila card to her, which had an address, phone number and surprisingly an email and fax.
“Good to know we don’t use pigeons for mail,” she muttered. “And that I can email you my schedule. By the way, my weekends are almost completely open.”
“And in the old days you would have trained from before dawn until well after dusk, every day of the week, no matter how tired you were,” Weisz cheerily informed her. “I begin to think Klaus was right in wanting to keep you hidden away in Germany.”
“Times change,” she retorted.
“And thankfully for you, I change with them.” The bell rang, and Tabitha began stacking her papers and things, sliding them neatly into her bag. “Well, then, I won’t keep you.”
“I wouldn’t let you anyway,” she replied. That actually made Weisz smile.
“So much like Elba. It actually hurts a little. Off to class with you, then, we would not want you to be late, now would we?”
“Actually, I think you might get a little joy out of it,” she replied, and began to walk off. She heard him laugh, but then nothing. When she turned back to check, Weisz was gone.

History went smoothly enough, because the teacher almost never called on her, due to the fact that Tabitha usually had all of the answers. As she predicted, they had not moved on to their next lesson in computer skills, so she used it to do calculus homework. Calculus was all right too, it was only after that Tabitha hit a snag in her day. Brian d’Ambrosio stood next to her locker as she approached.
“Can we talk?” he asked.
“Talk,” she replied.
“No, about the other day, about what you did to the, uh…” he lowered his voice. “Gun.”